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WHEN Lina Medina's stomach began growing, doctors were certain she was suffering from a large tumour – she was only five years old, after all.
But after running tests they found she was seven months pregnant and weeks later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
And 80 years on, Lina is still the youngest person in the world to have ever given birth.
She was born in a small village in the Andes in Peru to a poor family in 1933.
At the age of five, her mother noticed her growing abdomen after she complained about having stomach pains.
Just weeks later on May 14, 1939, she gave birth to a baby boy via Caesaerean as her young pelvis was deemed to small for a natural birth.
Her baby was born a healthy 6lbs and the infant was named Gerardo in honour of the doctor who delivered him.
When Gerardo was born , the doctor discovered that despite only being five years old, Lina had mature sexual organs and suffered from a a condition called precocious puberty.
Although the family have never spoken to the press, Lina's mother reportedly noticed that her daughter started having periods from the age of three.
After Lina gave birth, police arrested her father Tilburelo on suspicion of incest.
What is precocious puberty?
- Typically, puberty happens around the age of 11 for girls and 12 for boys – but if it happens before the age of eight in girls and nine in boys, it is known as precocious puberty.
- The cause is not known, but in rare cases other medical conditions can trigger early puberty. They include certain infections, hormone disorders, tumours, brain abnormalities or injuries.
- The condition can be stalled, and children will be given drugs to delay any further development. Once a girl has had her first period she is fertile and able to get pregnant.
- What are the signs to watch out for? If you child begins to show the typical signs of puberty before the age of eight or nine, it is worth seeing your GP.
- Signs in girls: breast growth and first period
- Signs in boys: enlarged testicles and penis, facial hair, and a deeper voice
- Signs in boys and girls: pubic or underarm hair, rapid growth, acne and adult body odour
- Known risk factors for the condition include being obese and being a girl. Kids that are exposed to the sex hormones, oestrogen and testosterone are also at greater risk. They can come in contact with the hormones in creams, ointments and in adult medication or dietary supplements.
Source: Mayo Clinic
But he was later released by police due to a lack of evidence and to this day the true identity of the father has never been revealed.
Growing up, Gerardo always believed Lina was his sister but at the age of ten was told she was his mother.
Gerardo grew up healthy but died at the age of 40 in 1979 after suffering from a bone disease.
Lina is now 85 years old and still lives in Peru – however, she refused to ever sell her story as she wanted to live a normal life.
She married husband Raul in the 1970s, later giving birth to her second son at the age of 39.
Her case has often been thought of as a hoax, but doctors say they have x-rays and biopsies that prove she really was pregnant.
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